To the Editor:

Dear Bluffton,

I am so PROUD of you.

On June 22, the inaugural Lowcountry Pride Parade & Celebration took place through the Old Town Promenade and in the Field of Dreams at Oscar Frazier Park. The day was sunny and beautiful, and true to form, Blufftonians came out with families, pets and rainbows in tow, everyone smiling and hugging as we paraded through the heart of town in support of our LGBTQ+ community.

The stories were emotional. People came home to Bluffton from the cities to which they had moved as young adults. People came out who have lived their entire lives here in Beaufort County. In true Lowcountry tradition, people even traveled from Ohio! It was pretty cool.

And so, I want to say thank you to the people of Bluffton. Bluffton has always been a diverse and vibrant town; thank you for continuing to show that we have room for all.

To our local businesses, thank you for offering support, resources and donations. Thank you for hanging Pride flags on parade day. That small gesture means the world to many people, and is deeply appreciated.

To our mayor, Lisa Sulka, thank you for attending. To our town event coordinator and town staff, thank you for your assistance.

To the volunteers and crew, you rock! You brought people together and created a fantastic event that will continue on for many years!

To my LGBTQ+ friends and family, I support you. In Bluffton, love wins.

Kathleen Hughes Mardell

Organizer, Lowcountry Pride